October 10, 1861: Fridtjof Nansen is born.

Fridtjof Nansen (born in Oslo, Norway) was a champion athlete, scientist, Polar explorer, diplomat, humanitarian, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and wearer of an exceptional mustache. 

In 1888, Nansen and a carefully-selected group performed the first complete crossing of Greenland,  hundreds of kilometers in below-zero temperatures… on skis. In 1893, Nansen attempted something perhaps even more daring - an expedition to the geographical North Pole, called the Fram expedition. Nansen was no simple adventurer, however. His goal in travelling to the North Pole was in itself a scientific experiment; his purpose was to see if the natural drift of the Arctic Ocean would bring his ship straight over the pole. His proposal was derided by many, including other polar explorers, like Adolphus Greely, who called the plan “self-destruction”; however, Nansen did not yield and carried out the experiment anyway. Eventually, he bested Greely’s Farthest North record by reaching a latitude of 86°14’ N (Greely thankfully admitted later that he had been wrong). After this expedition, Nansen retired from exploration, but the manner in which he carried out this last experiment (using small crews and lifting techniques from the indigenous people) proved extremely influential; furthermore, he was an inspiration to a later generation of Polar explorers, including Ernest Shackleton and Roald Amundsen. 

After retiring from exploration, Nansen devoted his efforts to scientific study, and later, diplomacy and humanitarianism. In 1922, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “his work for the repatriation of the prisoners of war, his work for the Russian refugees, his work to bring succour to the millions of Russians afflicted by famine, and finally his present work for the refugees in Asia Minor and Thrace”. 

He was also once a Badass of the Week (naturally).

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